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this was the term used to describe those beings who believed that the Old Republic no longer functioned for the good of the galaxy, and advocated the secession of worlds from the Republic, during the years leading up to the Clone Wars. Led by Count Dooku, the Separatists were officially known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Together, Dooku and the Separatists drove a wedge into the already-crumbling Republic. Thousands of star systems allied themselves with Dooku and the Separatists, who promised completely free trade to any group, corporation, or government which agreed to support them. Funding was secretly provided by the Commerce Guild and the InterGalactic Banking Clan, and war materiel was provided by the Trade Federation. Although the Clone Wars seemed to go in favor of the Separatist forces for many months, the Grand Army of the Republic finally managed to begin scoring victories. Droid factories were destroyed, cutting off the seemingly endless supply of battle droids that had been protecting the Separatists. In order to protect the various leaders of the Council of Separatists, Dooku ordered his half-alien/half-droid commander General Grievous to secret the leaders away on remote planets like Utapau and Mustafar. The deaths of Count Dooku during the First Battle of Coruscant and General Grievous on Utapau left the Separatists without a true leader. When Chancellor Palpatine revealed himself to be Darth Sidious, he ordered his new apprentice - Anakin Skywalker - to travel to Mustafar and eliminate the Separatist leaders. Skywalker's vicious slaughter put an end to the Separatist threat, but only sealed the fate of the galaxy as Palpatine named himself Emperor. In the speech in which Palpatine declared himself Emperor and formed the Galactic Empire, he claimed that the Separatist threat had been originally formed as a traitorous union between the Jedi Order and a handful of seditious Senators.
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